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This page will be used to record any written questions and answers connected with the UWM NFS Storage Bid

Agency Bid Number: E6-019-O
Bid Title: NETWORK FILE SYSTEM STORAGE SERVERS FOR A LINUX COMPUTING CLUSTER
Dear Vendor:
The above Official Sealed Bid is being let in your commodity area. To obtain additional information, login to VendorNet (http://vendornet.state.wi.us/) and click on SEARCH. Select "Official Sealed Bids". Next select "By agency bid number", enter the agency bid number in the text box as the keyword, and click on "Search Vendornet". The system will locate the bid announcement for your review.


Question:
On page 7 it states AMD Opteron. Are you accepting bids for Intel Xeon?
Answer:
Yes. Please read the bid specification carefully. It clearly says that the AMD Opteron system is an EXAMPLE and that any system meeting the FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATIONS will be considered.

Question:
There is a weight restriction on the RFP of 1250 1bs. Is this correct or a "typo" and or is this is a City Code, a Building Code, an Elevator Restriction, a floor restriction?
Answer:
This is not a typo. This is a restriction from our raised floor system (Concor 1250). It is only rated for a 1250 pound rack load. Note that the proposed system may consist of MANY 1250 pound racks! The building elevator is rated around 3000 pounds and the remainder of the building structure could handle a larger load.

Question:
We desire to know if UWM has criteria beyond cost, such as read or write performance or IOPs in evaluating various vendors proposals. The example in the RFB uses SATA drives which may not be the best performance choice but is relatively inexpensive storage. Knowing such performance-based criteria would be helpful in formulating our response to ensure we address the specific areas of importance to UWM.
Answer:
Systems must meet our stated performance criteria. Beyond this, the decision will be made primarily based on cost, anticipated reliability and ease of use, and general simplicity and quality of design and hardware. Cost is however the primary factor.

Question:
Are the responders specifically limited to 10+2 RB or can we configure an alternative that we believe may offer additional benefits.
Answer:
You may use alternatives, provided that they offer at least as much redundant protection against drive failure as RAID-6 or RAID-5 plus a hot spare.

Question:
What is the anticipated schedule for UWM to select a vendor for this project?
Answer:
It is quick. Bidders should not propose equipment that can not be integrated and delivered within weeks.

Question:
On page 6 of the RFB second paragraph below the Section 1 Introduction heading the RFB states "and offering at a 10GB/sec READ and 10GB/sec WRITE bandwidth of data." On page 7 of the RFB, number 5 the RFB states "System will offer aggregate 10 GB/sec bandwidth to the data, via one hundred copper gigabit or ten 10 Gb/sec Ethernet ports. 1Gb/s ports must support jumbo frames (at least 6KB in size; 9kB is desirable)." The bandwidth requirements seem to be in conflict can UWM restate their specific bandwidth requirements?
Answer:
What is the conflict? Please remember that Gb=Gigabit and GB=Gigabyte. After TCP and ethernet frame overhead is taken into account, 100Gb/sec is equal to 10GB/sec.

Question:
On page 7 of the RFB, number 12 the RFB states "Systems for which alternative source replacement parts and components are available are desirable." Can UWM provide additional information concerning its expectations for this requirement? Does UWM not want to use manufacturer parts?
Answer:
In making our judgement about what system to purchase, we may choose not to buy a system if we judge that it is too dependent upon a single manufacturer who may not remain in business in the future. If a system consists of components which could be replaced by alternatives if necessary, this concern does not arise.

Question:
Is UWM asking that parts be delivered for on-site repair? If so how fast does UWM need the parts, 4 hours, next business day?
Answer:
UWM wants to maintain a stock of spare parts on-site, which can be used for immediate repairs. Damaged or failed parts could then be replaced with new or refurbished parts using standard UPS three or five day delivery..

Question:
I'm reviewing your RFB (E6-019-O) for 300TB or storage. The "typical system design" provided in the request matches well with our offerings. My question is regarding the file system that will be shared into the cluster. Will each of the storage nodes provide a stand alone NFS mount into the 248 node Opteron cluster? Or is the plan to provide a single volume by some other means? If so how is that envisioned?
Answer:
We require a single namespace but it's OK to have this span multiple distinct filesystems. If the storage consists of (for example) 50 servers labeled s01 up to s50 then for example each server could have a single 6TB file system. The single namespace would then be provided by using (from any compute node) /mnt/s01/file1 or /mnt/s02/file2 and so on. This is how we currently operate, using a single namespace but multiple file systems. It works well. The ability to provide a single filesystem that spans all of the storage would be an advantage, however low cost and high reliability are much more important. A single filesystem in the lowest-cost system would be frosting on the cake, but we don't need it.

Question:
I want to make sure what you are going to connect the "NAS" system to ?? I also want to make sure that you are going to connect the "NAS" to the network and not to a server ...
Answer:
The file servers will be accessed over the network (ethernet, using NFS) by a large number of cluster compute nodes that need to access data stored on them. A handful of machines will have write access to the file servers. Most of the compute nodes will be accessing the file servers 'read only'.

Question:
Does the winning vendor have the responsibility of shipping the racks completely filled/configured/connected, or can the products be shipped to UWM in original boxes, and then unboxed/set up/connected/configured on site? It sounds like you would like these pre-assembled before shipping as opposed to set up on site. Please clarify.
Answer:
The winning vendor can deliver systems pre-racked and configured. In this case, UWM personnel will do all inside delivery of the systems after delivery to the loading dock. Alternatively, if desired the winning vendor can ship to UWM in original boxes, then can come on site to unbox, set up, rack and configure the systems on-site.

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